LUNCHBOX TREATS

Storytime Chefs: Space themed storybooks and recipes for the Summer break

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It's July (just!) and time for this month's Storytime Chef post. This month, we are embracing the them of SPACE, because what child doesn't love recipes (and stories) featuring rockets, space travel, aliens and intergalactic travel?

For those of you who are new to Storytime Chefs, welcome to our virtual reading and cookery club for families with children aged 2-10 years.

COMPETITION TIME:

We are celebrating our second month of book and cookery activities with a (UK) give away of a personalised copy of The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home (with your child's name) by Wonderbly

Just comment and share this post on Facebook, or tag us on Instagram with your space inspired baking (#organiccookeryschool #storytimechefs). See bottom of post for full terms an

 

The best children's books about Space

Do your kids love the topic of Space? This year both my Reception aged daughter (aged 5) and my 12 year old studied space and the solar system at school. It was great to hear them comparing facts, and I think Emily was a little jealous of how much art and craft her little sister got to do during their studies.

Emily loves to read with her little sister, so we dug out some of our favourite Key Stage 1 story and poetry books with a space theme. The following are all fiction, as it's pretty easy to find non-fiction children's books about space.

We also dusted out some quick recipes/food activities The Organic Cookery School had put together for a month of Rocket Science themed cookery activities at the Royal Horticultural Society’s gardens at Wisley.

Note: As we didn’t have access to any ovens at Wisley, they were all on a no cook / assembling /decorating vibe, but still fun to recreate when the kids have friends over for a playdate.

I’ve included the worksheets, which have recipes and instructions for giant gingerbread planets and astronauts, shooting star kebabs, rocket sandwiches, cake truffle planets and peppermints stars in the documents section of our Facebook group.

You can access those recipes and worksheets for free by joining our friendly Storytime Chefs Facebook group  before the end of August 2018. Once you've joined check the announcements or look in the documents section of the group.

But I also recommend making a bowl of alien soup (aka our Summertime soup) and deep space rock cakes (aka cheesy broccoli and quinoa bites), before snuggling down to a magical deep space story from the following list.

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Find instructions how to make our Cake Truffle Planets in the  Storytime Chef  FB group

Find instructions how to make our Cake Truffle Planets in the Storytime Chef FB group

Fifteen teacher (and child) approved books inspired by the theme of Space

The First Hippo on the Moon by David Walliams    

Fun illustrations from best selling author David Walliams,  suitable from 3+

Eeek! The Runaway Alien by Karen Inglis 

Suggested age 6+ (also great for football fans)

Space Boy by Leo Landry In this charming picture book, the allure of space travel and the longing for peace and quiet entice a young boy to take his space rocket to the Moon for a picnic. Suggested age 4-7 years
 
Aliens Love Underpants and Aliens in Underpants Save the World by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort 
 "Aliens love underpants, in every shape and size, But there are no underpants in space, so here's a big surprise...." Great books for joining in (and giggles) Suggested age range 3-6 years.

Mousetronaut by Mark Kellywritten by a real astronaut! Astronaut Mark Kelly flew with "mice-tronauts" on his first spaceflight aboard space shuttle Endeavourin 2001. Mousetronaut tells the story of a small mouse that wants nothing more than to travel to outer space. The little mouse works as hard as the bigger mice to show readiness for the mission . . . and is chosen for the flight! While in space, the astronauts are busy with their mission when disaster strikes--and only the smallest member of the crew can save the day. Suggested age range 4-7 years

The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers  By best selling author Oliver Jeffers, suggested age 3-5 years
Alien Tea on the Planet Zum Zee by Tony Mitton   
If you take your rocket to the outer edge of space, you'll come across a funny little alien place. The alien peoples call it Planet Zum-Zee, and they're meeting here today for a special picnic tea. Another great read-aloud book for 3 years plus

Coyote and the Sky: How the Sun, Moon and Stars Began by Emmett ‘Schkeme’ Garcia , a traditional retelling of how the sun, moon and stars began, for younger readers. 
Letters from an Alien School Boy by Ros Asquith

The Planet Gods by Jacqueline Mitton

Dr. Xargles Book of Earthlets by Jeanne Willis

Space Poems chosen by Gaby Morgan


We’re Off to Look for Aliens by Colin McNaughton

On the Moon by Anna Milbourne

 

Link to books on Amazon in books (or check your local library).

By shopping with the links we have provided, we may earn a small referral commission which goes straight back into our community outreach projects for vulnerable families It also doesn’t cost you anymore. Thank you!

Join the Storytime Chef Fun – Here’s How:

  1. Please leave a comment below, saying that you’re joining Storytime Chefs this month and reading The Rainbow Fish.
  2. Join our friendly Facebook group STORYTIME CHEFS for shopping lists and bonus activities covering art, crafts, science and links with the curriculum.
  3. Get a copy of the book using the links above or from your local library.
  4. Read the book together…
  5. ….then bring the kids into the kitchen and cook our featured recipes together.
  6. I would LOVE for you to share your photos on Instagram using the hashtag: #StorytimeChefs and please tag me too (@organiccookeryschool). 
  7. Tune in next month for  another book-themed recipe.
Follow and tag us on  Instagram  to enter #organiccookeryschool #storytimechefs   

Follow and tag us on Instagram to enter #organiccookeryschool #storytimechefs

 

Ways to enter our competition:

1) Comment and share this post on FB

2) Follow and tag us on Instagram with some parent/child space themed baking

3) Share your space themed cookery activities with us in our FB group.

4) Get £5 off any Wonderbly book using this link.

Any of the above actions (completed by 31/8) guarantees an entry in the competition draw (UK residents only).  One winner will be chosen by random and contacted by social media on 1st September 2018. the chosen winner will have 7 days to respond, and will need to supply the name, gender , hair colour and address of the child the book will be personalised for. For further details visit Wonderby and select 'The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home for information on personalisation details required. These details will not be shared with any other parties.

Storytime Chefs: Rainbow Fish Digestive Biscuits

makes 10-12 biscuits

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Here’s the second recipe in Rainbow Fish themed Storytime Chefs series, our monthly virtual cookery and book club for families with children aged 2-10 years.

Read more about this month's book choice here, or try our delicious veg pack Rainbow Fish Pizzas.

equipment:

You will need:

  • an apron and clean hands
  • two baking sheets, lined with greaseproof paper
  • one large mixing bowl
  • one small bowl to melt butter
  • weighing scales
  • measuring spoon
  • a wooden spoon or silicone mixing spoon
  • a fish shaped cookie cutter
  • a rolling pin (and optional rolling mat)
  • a palette knife or similar to lift biscuits
  • a cooling rack
  • oven gloves

 

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Ideas for decorating your rainbow fish biscuits:

To ice or not to ice?

It’s pretty impossible to decorate biscuits (and avoid a mini sugar rush) without using some form of icing, chocolate or sweets and whilst this isn't the healthiest of food stuffs, it is part of the magic of this activity for your kids. These biscuits are delicious on their own, and are not overly sweet, so we normally decorate about half and leave the remainder plain.

When it comes to choosing decorating ingredients, we prefer to go as natural as possible, choosing options which don’t contain palm oil, artificial colours and flavours, and are organic where ever possible.

Baking and decorating biscuits/cakes (especially Rainbow Fish ones) isn’t an everyday event  - just like eating birthday cake isn’t an everyday event, which most children understand.

Here are some options (either fruity or chocolatey):

or

  • Melted chocolate (milk or white)
  • Colourful dried fruit ‘scales’ (eg cranberries, chopped apricots, golden raisins, chopped mango) or snipped up Bear Fruit Yoyos/homemade fruit leather
  • Naturally coloured/flavoured ‘Smarties’ or ‘Jelly Tots’ (eg Biona)
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Where to get hold of a copy of The Rainbow Fish:

Link to Rainbow Fish on Amazon UK                      Link to Rainbow Fish on Amazon US

Or don’t forget to check your local library.

By shopping with the links we have provided, we may earn a small referral commission which goes straight back into our community outreach projects for vulnerable families It also doesn’t cost you anymore. Thank you!

Storytime Chefs: Recipes inspired by The Rainbow Fish

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This month, we launch the first in a new series of cook and learn activities inspired by popular children’s books.

Storytime Chefs is our virtual reading and cookery club for families with children aged 2-10 years, and we are kicking off with a book I’ve shared with many of our community-based family cookery classes  - The Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister.

What’s The Rainbow Fish about?

The most beautiful fish in the ocean is asked to share one of his shining scales with a little blue fish, which he refuses. All the other fish in the sea leave him alone, and he wonders why. He goes to the wise octopus for advice, and she tells him to give away his scales. Rainbow Fish reluctantly does so, except for one. In the end, he is less beautiful then he was before, but he has new friends and is now the happiest fish in the sea.

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We've put together two beautiful child-approved recipes to make with your children:

Rainbow Fish Pizza and Rainbow Fish Digestive Biscuits

Where to get hold of a copy of The Rainbow Fish:

Link to Rainbow Fish on Amazon UK                      Link to Rainbow Fish on Amazon US

Or don’t forget to check your local library.

By shopping with the links we have provided, we may earn a small referral commission which goes straight back into our community outreach projects for vulnerable families It also doesn’t cost you anymore. Thank you!

Join the Storytime Chef Fun – Here’s How:

  1. Please leave a comment below, saying that you’re joining Storytime Chefs this month and reading The Rainbow Fish.
  2. Join our friendly Facebook group STORYTIME CHEFS for shopping lists and bonus activities covering art, crafts, science and links with the curriculum.
  3. Get a copy of the book using the links above or from your local library.
  4. Read the book together…
  5. ….then bring the kids into the kitchen and cook our featured recipes together.
  6. I would LOVE for you to share your photos on Instagram using the hashtag: #StorytimeChefs and please tag me too (@organiccookeryschool). 
  7. Tune in next month for  another book-themed recipe.

Featured Recipes for The Rainbow Fish

Get the Rainbow Fish Pizza recipe here

JOIN THE STORYTIME CHEFS VIRTUAL READING AND COOKING CLUB

Storytime Chefs : Rainbow Fish Pizzas

makes four individual pizzas

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These quick and healthy pizzas are inspired by The Rainbow Fish (by Marcus Pfister), and encourage children to pile up on a variety of different coloured veggies, helping them meet their five a day targets and eat a rainbow too. I’ve honestly never seen my five year old so keen to load up with every colour of vegetable.

For speed and convenience, shop-bought pitta bread works fine (Waitrose and Ocado stock organic versions).  Pitta are easy to cut to shape with sturdy kitchen scissors, and both wholemeal and white pitta both taste great in these pizzas.

Trimming into a fish shape can be a bit awkward (there’s a good chance that little ones could accidentally chop off a tail!) but is great for developing motor skills - so be prepared to model where to cut and help little ones. (and have a few pitta spare just in case)

If you want to make your own pitta (which is great fun and everso easy) - we’ve included a recipe to make your own in the resources section of our FB group.

Next comes a topping of our veggie packed magic tomato sauce, but any good quality tomato pasta sauce will work (we like Seeds of Change and Mr Organic sauces).

Let your junior chefs get busy with the cheese grater, minding their fingers (and fingernails)  before offering them a rainbow selection of veggie toppings.

*N.B. Children should always be supervised when cooking, and an adult should oversee the use of heat as well as all preparation involving sharp utensils.


Developing cooking skills:

Encourage your children to do as much of the pizza prep as possible. We’ve highlighted the hands on skills they will be developing  below:

 

  1. Cut the pitta bread into a fish shape using scissors (adult/older child task unless very dextrous)

  2. Spoon and spread pizza sauce (child)

  3. Grate cheese and sprinkle over pizza sauce (child - may need support grating)

  4. Take a pinch of italian herbs and sprinkle over cheese (child)

  5. Prepare veggie toppings - dice and slice peppers, mushrooms, olives (child - younger cooks may need support slicing or offer strips which they can dice/snip with a safe knife or scissors)

  6. Snip spring onions (if using) with scissors (child)

  7. Build your rainbow fish pizza using fingers or a spoon to create colourful (veggie) rainbow scales (child)

  8. Drizzle or spritz with a little olive oil  - an oil spray works well for this (child - may need support)

  9. Ask an adult to place in the oven for approx 12 mins (adult or older child)

  10. Wait until cooled and enjoy.

 

Don’t forget to take some photos and share them with us in the Storytime Chef group (or tag us on instagram #storytimechef #organiccookeryschool)


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Enjoy this? Try our Rainbow Fish inspired digestive biscuits.

Where to get hold of a copy of The Rainbow Fish:

Link to Rainbow Fish on Amazon UK                      Link to Rainbow Fish on Amazon US

Or don’t forget to check your local library.

By shopping with the links we have provided, we may earn a small referral commission which goes straight back into our community outreach projects for vulnerable families It also doesn’t cost you anymore. Thank you!

Healthy Valentine Recipes Your Kids Will Love

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We love Valentine’s day at The Organic Cookery School. Partly because it often falls in our February half term (so extra time for kids’ baking classes!) and because it’s Lucy’s wedding anniversary (awww!) on the 14th.

So whether it’s a weekend or school hols activity, Valentine’s is a perfect time to get hands on in the kitchen with your little ones.

Here are some our our favourite health(ier) recipes for Valentine’s.

These raspberry yogurt mousse pots from  Eats Amazing  are super quick and lower sugar than your average dessert.

These raspberry yogurt mousse pots from Eats Amazing are super quick and lower sugar than your average dessert.

Peanut Butter fans will go crazy for  Healthy Little Foodies   Raspberry Peanut Butter Freezer Bites     

Peanut Butter fans will go crazy for Healthy Little Foodies  Raspberry Peanut Butter Freezer Bites     

More than Just Carrots  have also rethought the Jammie Dodger, with a strawberry chia jam and wholemeal hazelnut biscuit.                                                                                                                            

More than Just Carrots have also rethought the Jammie Dodger, with a strawberry chia jam and wholemeal hazelnut biscuit.                                                                                                                            

Frozen strawberries work perfectly in these healthy Strawberry Breakfast Bites from  My Kids Lick The Bowl  with oats, coconut and sunflower seeds.

Frozen strawberries work perfectly in these healthy Strawberry Breakfast Bites from My Kids Lick The Bowl with oats, coconut and sunflower seeds.

All About Kids  have reinvented the traditional Jammie Dodger with raspberry chia jam. Yum!         

All About Kids have reinvented the traditional Jammie Dodger with raspberry chia jam. Yum!         

And if hummous is your thing, you can’t go wrong with this Beetroot Hummous recipe from  Baby Gram

And if hummous is your thing, you can’t go wrong with this Beetroot Hummous recipe from Baby Gram

And Valentine’s is one time when breakfast balls needn’t just be for breakfast!  Healthy Little Foodies’s  Raspberry and Coconut ones look delicious and are perfect for little hands to roll.

And Valentine’s is one time when breakfast balls needn’t just be for breakfast! Healthy Little Foodies’s Raspberry and Coconut ones look delicious and are perfect for little hands to roll.

Lucy and Clare over at  The Happy Weaner  have plenty of ideas for cute Valentine snacks

Lucy and Clare over at The Happy Weaner have plenty of ideas for cute Valentine snacks

But one of our favourites has to be these super cute Valentine apple love bugs from Grace at Eats Amazing Who could resist?

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We hope that’s given you a little inspiration for 14th February and we’d love to hear if you try any of the above.

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Best lunchboxes for the new school year

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With a little less than a fortnight left of the Summer holidays (for some of us – I’ve two starting 10 days apart!), preparation for the new school term is well under way.

New shoes, new uniform, new pencils and new lunchboxes all round. Even if your kids have a hot school meal, a small lunchbox can serve as a useful break or after school snack holder.

We round up some of our favourites for boys and girls of all ages.

 

SKIP HOP UNICORN

Fun, robust and easy for little hands to open and close. The unicorn designs is one of our faves, but they also come in monkey, owl, hedgehog, bees and ladybird. Cute to the max.

Buy it now.

THERMOS RADIANCE

Sturdy and plain enough for kids who just aren't into character lunchboxes anymore.

Buy it now.

SISTEMA BENTO CUBE TO GO

Dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe, BPA and phthalate free, these sturdy bento sytle lunchboxes come in lots of colours and include a poy of fruit/jelly/yogurt.

Buy it now.

SUCK UK ROBOT

How cool is this? A roomy, retro style lunch tin, which we'd happily take to work.

Buy it now

HAPPY JACKSON BRAIN FOOD LUNCH BOX

Bright and colourful (and with a choice of messages) these smaller lunchboxes from Happy Jackson are also great for school break and afterschool snacks.

Buy it now.

FRINGOO PINEAPPLE TOTE

In stretchy, insulated neoprene, with a ton of fun designs - we love the pineapple dots but there are also unicorns, cheeseburgers, cats and pirate designs. It's also machine-washable.

Buy it now.

MY LITTLE PONY

With the new My Little Pony film coming out in October, there's little chance of your little one getting bored of the insulated lunch bag from Thermos featuring Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie.

Buy it now.

YUMBOX CLASSIC BENTO

The ubiquitous classic yumbox has a lot of fans and comes in a myriad of rainbow colours. Not the cheapest on the market but built to last.

Buy it now.

 

MINECRAFT

A favourite in our household, this official minecraft lunchbag will go down well with any would be Steves.

Buy it now.

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Bites

makes 20-24 bites

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Bites - The Organic Cookery School

Babies and toddlers love to be independent and will feed themselves as soon as they are given the chance . Perfect for baby-led weaning, and a healthy lunchbox treat for older kids, you can offer these knowing they are  the perfect hand held snack.

These portable nutrition bombs contain quinoa, a unique grain containing all of the essential amino acids that the body needs, which is also naturally high in fibre, B vitamins and magnesium as well as vitamin rich broccoli, eggs and cheese for protein.

They freeze really well too. Enjoy!


N.B. Children should always be supervised when cooking, and an adult should oversee the use of heat as well as all preparation involving sharp utensils.


Try something different

Try mixing finely chopped carrot or raisins instead of broccoli

 

Did you know?

Quinoa is a gluten-free wholegrain

You can get white, red or black quinoa.

White quinoa will cook to be the fluffier, whilst red and black will cook to be a little more crunchy.

Quinoa has the perfect balance of all nine amino acids essential for human nutrition, and provides a good amount of fibre and iron.


*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet for an adult. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Infants and Toddlers will need less calories according to their age.
Click here for advice on how many calories your child needs.

Bread and Butter Pudding Muffins

MAKES 16 MUFFINS

Lunch box staple and after school treat. These never last long in our household and are ideal to cook with little ones. Great for using up stale bread and a portable form of bread and butter pudding. Need we say more?



Did you know?

These muffins are full of calcium (good for your bones) and contains very little added sugar because of the natural sweetness of the dried fruit.

 


Sweet Potato and Orange Muffins

makes 12-18

The apricots in this mix make these muffins – which are low in added sugar and full of natural sweetness from sweet potato, carrots, orange juice and dried fruit. We made them in standard muffin cases here, but they are perfect as mini muffins too – split the mix and have some mum and baby/toddler-sized ones. Perfect for lunchboxes and freezable.

* Adult supervision is required for all chopping, and use of ovens.


Did you know?

  • Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene).
  • They are also a good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fibre, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.
     

Try this!

Swap chopped apricots for any other favourite dried fruit – cranberries, raisins, even chopped prunes!


 

Tomato and Paprika Biscuits

makes 20 small biscuits

There’s something pretty unique about these biscuits – our very anti-tomato 10 year old loves them!  As does pretty much everyone who’s made them in our community classes (even fussy eaters!)  They can be thrown together in minutes, require pretty much store cupboard staples (just need to make sure you have a couple of spring onions to hand) and are perfect blw or lunchbox staples.

* N.B. Children should always be supervised when cooking, and an adult should oversee the use of heat as well as all preparation involving sharp utensils.


Did you know?

  • The English word “tomato” comes from the Aztec word, “tomatl”. Tomatoes are full of health: A good source of vitamins A, C and E tomatoes also contain potassium which may help lower blood pressure and calcium which is vital for healthy bones and teeth.
  • To read more about the humble tomato visit: www.britishtomatoes.co.uk

 

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet for an adult. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Infants and Toddlers will need less calories according to their age.
Click here for advice on how many calories your child needs.

Courgette, Pear and Carrot Cakes

makes two small loaves or 8 - 10 muffins

Here’s another low sugar lunchbox treat, which the kids will love making. Dead simple, packed with veggies and naturally sweet with very little added sugar. We regularly make these in our Little Foodies toddler cookery classes, and everyone loves them.

Need any further excuse to try them?

Carrots are rich in beta carotene which is converted in the body to vitamin A. This nutrient is used to strengthen the immune system and to ensure good eye health. Courgettes are also a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as folate and potassium and fibre, which help to ensure a healthy bowel and prevent constipation in little ones.

*N.B. Children should always be supervised when cooking, and an adult should oversee the use of heat as well as all preparation involving sharp utensils.


Try something different

  • Try changing the pear for another fruit or your choice. Apples, plums and peach would work well.
     

Did you know?

  • Courgette (also known as Zucchini) contains more potassium than bananas and are a rich source of vitamin C and manganese.
  • Carrots although usually orange in colour can also come in purple, red, white, and yellow varieties.
  • The human body turns beta-carotene from carrots into vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for the health of our vision (including our night vision) as well as our bones, teeth and skin.

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet for an adult. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Infants and Toddlers will need less calories according to their age.
Click here for advice on how many calories your child needs.

 

Cheesy Spinach and Apple Muffins

Perfect for babies and toddlers

If your children are bored of sandwiches, these are great in lunchbox ( perhaps with some cooked chicken or a boiled egg for extra protein). Loved by toddlers, fussy eaters and baby-led weaners they freeze perfectly and are our secret weapon for sneaky some extra veggies into our little ones diets. We’ve made these as full sized muffins, but they work just as well as mini muffins for babies and toddlers.


*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet for an adult. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Infants and Toddlers will need less calories according to their age.
Click here for advice on how many calories your child needs.